Throughout 2012 we saw speculations and rumours surrounding Facebook and its IPO. There have been plenty of doom and gloom predictions and Facebook itself has stayed tightlipped about how it is going to grow in the future.

So what’s going to happen with Facebook and its billion users in the year to come?

Richard Harris, Co-Founder & CEO, Intent Media

Facebook will emerge from unsuccessfully monetizing its traffic via banners to successfully doing so via an SEM-style search offering. The result will be to further accelerate SEM beyond search engines as Facebook joins Amazon, travel sites, and a growing number of large retailers in offering search marketers the necessary combination of granularity and scale. 

Jess Seilheimer, SVP Digital Strategy & Planning, Havas Life NYC

from an agency POV: I hope to see Facebook figuring out the premium promoted posts for businesses. I also hope Facebook scales their agency/partner team to help business craft their social business strategies and comm plans. It’s a hot mess and brands will continue to hate Facebook until they help them make sense of how to use the platform (the online Facebook Studio is not working). 

They should hire some agency people to lead this. I’d also like to see Facebook formalize and scale their analytics offering with Neilsen to small business that can leverage those tools. 

Right now they are just piloting them with large corporations like P&G and Nestle. Small businesses have a need for measuring social CRM too and more brands would jump on the social marketing bandwagon is they knew how to do it and could measure it. Additionally Facebook needs to update their agency marketing partners quicker when they change and launch new features, we cant keep up with the changes to the platform and neither can our client’s budgets.

Adam Berke, AdRoll

Though launched this year, FBX will be the talk of the town (again) in 2013. Stay tuned for new opportunities to leverage real-time bidding (RTB) across Facebook.

Phillip Klien, CEO of SiteApps

The Facebook Exchange (FBX) was one of the biggest innovations in the ad market in 2012.  I believe Facebook will leverage even further it’s social graph and allow advertisers to go beyond simple remarketing to create incredible ad products such as  reaching users outside of Facebook with it’s user data.

Joshua March, CEO Conversocial

Facebook is working hard to drive more revenue with direct retail integrations such as this year’s “Gifts”, allowing users to buy, give and ship real gifts directly through Facebook. These ecommerce developments place Facebook at the heart of retail transactions; we should expect to see more of the same in 2013. 

With changes like Gifts, businesses will have to rely on Facebook even more heavily to manage their customer relationships, as there’s no need to go elsewhere. Multi-faceted conversations can take place in real-time while consumers are doing social-shopping.

Julia Rieger, Director of Marketing, Liveintent

I expect Facebook to continue to drive innovation, building on the success of FBX/Custom Audiences and moving closer to mobile monetization.  As opposed to killing email, Facebook will continue to leverage email as its secret weapon for driving traffic and will unleash new tools to help brands monetize their 1st party audiences via email hash-based ad targeting.  

Toby Daniels, CEO, Crowdcentric 

Facebook will see explosive growth in mobile advertising revenue.  Will launch at least one additional business which will aim to disrupt a traditional industry sector, like TV.

Gustav von Sydow, CEO and co-founder, Burt

Facebook will release an off-site ad network that will boost their revenues but leave little impact on marketers as a whole, and they will continue to fail to provide a really strong advertising offering on the main service, which is primarily used as a communications tool, not a media property.

Dan Jeffries, Jeffries Consulting

Facebook is a maturing company that, since its stock flotation, has failed to really impress investors.  The biggest challenge they face is striking the right balance between making the platform a profitable advertising medium and retaining engaged users that advertisers will pay to reach. Having such a segmented (and targetable) audience is the advertisers dream but many advertisers are struggling to make their message compelling enough in this medium.

I think that 2013 will be the year that Facebook comes of age and becomes a standard part of many media plans. This may mean that their regular user numbers drop off but advertisers will still want to make use of the opportunity Facebook presents them with.  On the users side of this equation, Facebook will need to continue developing its offering to keep its users coming back for more.

Kunur Patel, brand strategist, Percolate

Next year, Facebook will become a major player in mobile advertising, second only to Google. After getting mobile ads off the ground in 2012, Facebook has already monetize its massive mobile audience. This shift also illustrates how inextricable mobile and social platforms have become. 

Given that banner ads on mobile are small, ignorable and supply is far outstripping demand, maturing mobile ad efforts from Facebook and Twitter will make content-based social ads viewed on smartphones the new mobile rich media.

Sean W. Bohan, Co-Founder, Decahedralist Strategic Consulting

Heavy investment in video (platform elements, original production, component startups) as the need for increasing ad revenue grows. They will continue to annoy users with interface changes  and privacy policy issues resulting in Congressional hearings.